The speech of George Katrougalos to the Parliamentary Assembly (15-3-2022)


Dear Chair,

Our organisation has been the first international organisation to react to the Russian invasion, as it has reacted to the Greek dictatorship in 1968. We should thank Mr Tiny KOX not just for his recent leadership, but also for being the father of the joint procedure who gave a new role to our organisation and allowed us to set this unequivocal method against the war. Not just out of pacifistic reasons, but exactly because the Russian invasion was against international law, was against the fundamental values of our organisation, and it was based on a historical revisionism which is very destabilising for the whole of Europe.

We managed to sideline our differences in order to send this message. Of course, when we are going to discuss in April why Europe failed to prevent the war, why we have failed to create a new architecture of security in our common European home, our answers could be different, and this is the essence of democracy.

Now the moment is not for that. Now the moment is to call for de-escalation, for more humanitarian aid to Ukraine, to ensure humanitarian corridors. The Greek consul in Mariupol’, a city with 120 000 Greek-origin citizens, is still trapped there among many other people who would like to find a way out of the hill there.

We have supported the report by Ms Ingjerd SCHOU. I would like to thank her for that although we would like to have some issues more explicitly drawn there, above all the support for the peace movement throughout Europe and especially in Russia, such as the efforts of demonstrations which have resulted in the imprisonment of many Russians, individual cases of heroism like the young worker in the broadcast that interrupted the program in order to send a message against the war. This is necessary for sending the message for de-escalation and against the war, but also the message that we are not against the Russian people, but exactly the Russian illegal invasion.

With that I should end.

Our message should be clear: targeted sanctions and diplomacy can end the war, not prohibitions of performances of Tchaikovsky, as has happened in my country, Greece. Tchaikovsky has not invaded Ukraine.

Unequivocally, in a unified way, we should all say “stop the war, protect the peace” and for the next day avoid a new Cold War that would divide our common European home again.